Do Cows Get Mammograms Too?


Feel free to do what I did, Google “Mastitis + Nonlactating” but try not to, like I did, freak out at the dire health possibilities.  Except for the 942 results for “Non-Lactating Mastitis in Bovines”.  Though I’ve never been a Bovine, it appears those poor cows are hurting just like me.

Scared, alone, in pain and fearing the worse, I walked into Mega Medical Conglomerate’s Imaging Center for my Diagnostic Mammogram appointment.

“Diagnostic” meaning it’s not a routine screening because I’ve been in inexplicable pain for the past 5 weeks and my surgeon is still scratching his ego swollen head in total loss as what to do with me.  The perky chick at the counter—the one trained in Patient Privacy Practices—bellowed, “YOUR NAME???”  I leaned in and whispered, “Karen Rinehart.”

“AND YOU’RE HERE FOR WHAT?”  I handed her the doctor’s orders.  “A MAMMOGRAM? You need to go to the BREAST HEALTH CENTER down that hall through those doors on the right.”  So much for privacy.

I knew I’d arrived at the “Breast Health Center” entrance hall when I was visually assaulted with a Pepto-Bismol explosion of wall color.  Original, no?  The pink walls were adorned with Stock Photos of pretty, well coiffed, chipper women who stared down at me with their broad, white toothed smiles and gleaming eyes. What were they so happy about?  And could they spare a little compassion for a sister in pain?

The Breast Health Center receptionist, who must have had a Double Shot Perky Latte for breakfast, greeted me soundly, “Hello!  How are YOU today?”

“Just peachy.” I offered, with the least amount of scorn a rather modest woman in rather intense pain could muster. At least this lady, who obviously paid attention during her Patient Privacy Training, lapsed into her Empathetic Privacy Voice, as she handed me the obligatory paperwork plus buzzer to alert me when to meet the nurse, who, graciously, also didn’t ask my name in front of God, men and janitors, before she ushered me into the Great Beyond of Boobdom. 

Which didn’t happen until I endured ten minutes of waiting room purgatory.  As in a fountain.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, some genius decorator, obviously under the age of 25 and of the male persuasion, with the approval from hospital higher ups, deemed it necessary to have a four by five foot wall fountain in a waiting room for Women. Women whose median age is about 55. Thank God I didn’t stop for that large iced coffee on the way there. 

Once ensconced in my dressing room, I donned a soft wrap-around top emblazoned with little pink ribbons — in case I already forgot where I was or the possible results my tests might give. At least it was fabric and had ties, as opposed to my surgeon’s office, which only supplies white paper drapes barely big enough to cover my Miniature Dachshund.

I tried to stay positive; I really did, but my Cranky Italian Female Gene and persistent pain was dominating the day.  As I flipped through a nine-month old magazine and waited to be escorted to the mammogram room I couldn’t help but wonder, Where’s the Prostrate Health Clinic?  And what color would it be?


About Author

Karen J Rinehart is an award winning newspaper columnist, author, speaker, wife, mom and dog owner—all crammed into a fabulously petite frame. See her in action on

  • Jann


    Very funny article! My dad was a veterinarian of the old school where he diagnosed by site & feel as X-rays for animals were not yet invented; he often mixed his own medicines for the animals (compounded I think is the correct term) and drove around in a neon orange Chevy blazer before they were ever popular. He needed it because he carried so many different kinds of medicines and surgical instruments…

    YES, cows DO get mastitis–and often. When a diary cow has a calf, they remove the newborn calf from its mother within about 12 hrs. Then the farmers milk the cows, etc. If you don’t know how all of it works, you should take a field trip to an old-style farm.

    In these early days after “calving” the cow can get mastitis and the only way to treat it is to call “Doc.” Cows get it in a variety of ways and it is dangerous if it goes on too long. My dad was known throughout the region as the best “teat” (sounds like tit) surgeon. If we, his kids, had been good all morning, (afternoon, whenever) one or two of us would get to go along as his “car-girl(s).” I watched this procedure often and even assisted with many vet procedures since vet techs didn’t exist then.

    The procedure may be to graphic to describe here–could be squeamish folks reading this. Anyway, the surgery would help get the infection out and clear the contaminated milk and the cow’s milk could not be sent to the dairy plant for about 3 days.

    So now all of you who wondered, know! I only know of one friend of mine whose breast infection got to the point of mastitis which is a very serious infection, in fact. And NOT fun to have or be treated for, believe me!

  • Tarheel


    Just so you will know the Prostrate Health Clinic is kind of stark and cold. But we have the same loud talking nurse/receptionist. And she must be closely related to one that always has to ask me why my insurance company hasn’t paid.

  • Jann

    Tarheel–don’t you mean prostate not prostrate?

  • Tarheel

    Yeah, but I always hose it up. I just copied what was in the article.

  • Karen,

    You are too funny. I want to post this to my facebook page for all my women “friends,” but dare not. Coming from a guy it might not fly. And as Tarheel says there is prostate side of this for men which leaves us prosrate, but I’m not going there either. Not without a referral anyway.

  • Tarheel

    I will say that several years ago when the doctors discovered a mass in my breast (Guys get breast cancer too and I’m a guy)I had to sit in the pink and lavender room waiting for a mammogram. If the frilly outfitted waiting room wasn’t bad enough the exam itself made up for it. I discovered there is this vice controlled by compressed air that grabs you and inflicts pain. And then woman behind the protective wall says “Don’t move”. I’m thinking “like I’m going to walk away while this thing has a death grip on me?”

    To all the ladies out there who get these exams. I have felt your pain.

    P.S. I didn’t have cancer

    • Tarheel–FUNNY!!!!!!! And glad the test results were good.

  • UGH! I am SO embarrassed! I wrote “prostrate” instead of “prostate”!
    Ha! I’d like to say it’s b/c I’m soooooooo inclined to think along scriptural lines or I had just spent hours gazing upon my brother’s ordination photos but then I’d be lying in addition to misspelling words. 🙂